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How does Divorce and Social Security Work?

How does Divorce change my Social Security

We get a lot of questions regarding Divorce and Social Security. How it works, and who qualifies for what? Filing for Social Security involves a dizzying array of choices and decisions. When should you claim benefits? What’s the best way to maximize your income? Selecting the right options isn’t easy for anyone, and for those who are divorced it can be even harder. If you’re confused by the myriad of rules and regulations around filing for Social Security as a divorced individual, keep these guidelines in mind:

If you were married over 10 years, you can claim spousal benefits. This is true as long as you meet the following conditions:

  • You’ve been divorced for at least two years at the time you file.
  • You have not remarried.
  • You have reached the age of 62 (or older).
  • Your spouse is qualified by work history and citizenship to claim Social Security retirement/disability benefits.

Your spousal benefit will be equal to one half of the full retirement amount your ex-spouse is qualified to receive, assuming you file at your full retirement age. In many cases, this could be more than the amount you would receive based on your own work history – if you were out of the work force caring for children, for example. If your own work record is higher than you will receive your own benefit. In either case if you file at age 62 this could reduce your benefit as much as 30% for the rest of your retirement which can cost you thousands of retirement dollars.

You can receive the full amount of your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefit if he or she passes away. If your ex-spouse is deceased you can receive benefits as a widow or widower instead of spousal benefits. You qualify for the full amount of your ex-spouse’s retirement benefit, just as you would if you had still been married at the time of death. The rules are similar to those for spousal benefits:

  1. The marriage must have lasted at least 10 years.
  2. You must have attained your full retirement age (your benefit will be less if you file early).
  3. You must not have remarried before age 60. A marriage at or after the age of 60 will not affect your ability to qualify for this type of benefit.

In both types of Social Security benefits, it makes no difference whether your spouse has remarried one or more times. These benefits are yours if you qualify based on your age and marital status, even if there is a current spouse or widow who also collects benefits.

Still confused? Please contact our office for a consultation. We’ll help you clarify your options and find your best path forward. Social Security Benefit Planners 877-270-SSBP (7727) info@socialsecuritybp.com

Social Security Expert Faye Sykes on the Air with Radio Host Dana Barrett

Faye Sykes, CEO of Social Security Benefit Planners joined us in studio during hour one of today’s show! Faye explained the right time to take social security and how she and her company is able to help families maximize their social security benefits.

During hour two, Jackie Cannizzo, Executive Director of JCI Foundation joined us to dish on two upcoming events you don’t want to miss! The JCI Foundation will host the Judson Women’s Leadership Conference on June 20th at the Cobb Galleria; a great opportunity for women to learn and be inspired by successful leaders from all walks of life.

Redo for Social Security Retirement Benefits

Did you sign up early to start receiving Social Security benefits? If you’ve only recently begun to take benefits, you can still change your mind. For the first twelve months that you’re receiving Social Security income, you have the option to reset this to a later date and increase your payments.

During the initial year, you can halt your monthly payments and delay benefits to get further increases with age 70 being the maxed benefit. This flexibility comes at a cost though; you’ll have to pay back any amount you have already received. For some people, doing so is worth it, if you took benefits at age 62 this is up to a 30% reduction in benefits for the rest of your life. Each year you delay between ages 62 and 70 gives you a nice increase. If you’re the breadwinner in your family ideally you should wait as long as possible as a survivor spouse only gets the higher of the two.  

It isn’t just the currently calculated benefits that will be affected, either. Since Social Security cost of living increases (COLA) are figured as a percentage of your current benefits, delaying until full retirement age or longer means that each year you receive benefits you’ll have a higher amount from which to calculate annual COLA increases.

Unless you really need Social Security income as soon as you are eligible, it’s usually best to wait until your full retirement age or when it maxes out at age 70. One of our Social Security retirement advisors can help you find the best time to take benefits, or help you halt benefits now to increase your retirement income later. www.socialsecuritybp.com to read more, info@socialsecuritybp.com or call 877-270-SSBP (7727)

Not associated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Social Security Expert Faye Sykes on the Air with Radio Host Eric Holtzclaw

Planning today for tomorrow. Social Security expert Faye Sykes, NSSA, CLTC, National Social Security Advisor and CEO of Social Security Benefit Planners joined radio show host Eric V. Holtzclaw on Build Your Best Business to highlight steps all entrepreneurs can take to protect their retirement income.

Faye shares what inspired her to enter into this niche market and add on to her current services to help both new and existing clients and expand her business. LISTEN NOW!

 

 

Social Security Expert Faye Sykes on the Air with Ryan Poterack

Planning today for tomorrow. Social Security expert Faye Sykes, NSSA, CLTC, National Social Security Advisor and CEO of Social Security Benefit Planners joined radio show host Ryan Poterack with expert advice on Social Security planning. LISTEN NOW!

Not associated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Are You Part of the Sandwich Generation?

Many Americans today are part of what is known as the sandwich generation. No, that doesn’t mean covered in peanut butter or surrounded by lettuce and tomatoes. It refers to being economically sandwiched by two other generations, one older and one younger, that rely on you for financial support.

Providing emotional support for parents and children is part and parcel of being human. It’s both demanding and rewarding, but also creates some fear for the future. Providing financial support for these loved ones while taking care of yourself and your own future, however, can be tough. For many, it seems like an inescapable burden, and fulfilling it can leave you unable to provide sufficient resources to meet your own needs.

If you’re still funding your adult kids’ lifestyles and struggling to take good care of your parents’ financial needs at the same time, you might want to consider whether it’s the best strategy. Despite the desire to provide everything you can for your family, this financial sandwich can leave you in a bad situation a few years down the road.

  • Your kids have their whole life to pay back college and other debts. It feels good to provide your children with a debt-free college education and help with a car, house or other steps toward the good life. But can you afford it? Ignoring your financial future so you can give them the best start isn’t in anyone’s best interest. If you can’t support yourself in retirement, they’ll feel duty-bound to help. It’s often better to let them take out loans to accomplish their goals, while you save for your retirement years. That leaves you better prepared to take care of your own future needs while helping them realize the true costs of their choices and value them appropriately.
  • Learn from your parents and save more toward retirement. The financial sandwich you’re in now should illustrate the importance of saving for retirement. It’s more expensive than most people expect, between rising healthcare costs, inflation and longer lifespans. You’re seeing that first-hand with your parents; learn the lessons that their predicament illustrates and get serious about saving now, so you won’t be in the same one later.
  • You cannot take out loans for retirement. While it’s relatively easy to get a loan for a college education, house or car, just try asking for one to pay for retirement expenses. Lenders will laugh at you! Once you’re past working age, it’s virtually impossible to get a loan unless you can prove you have the resources to pay it back. That’s not a situation that inspires confidence for older Americans who need extra income just to get by, so let the kids get a loan now. It’s far easier to obtain and pay back than the one you’ll need if you don’t save enough for your retirement.

What’s the takeaway? Giving your retirement savings short shrift so you can keep paying for the generational sandwich isn’t wise. If you don’t have enough saved, it’s helpful to do what you can to maximize your Social Security income. But in the big picture, it’s probably more important to save for your own retirement than to fully fund your children’s college and post-college years.

Not associated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.